New research on same sex parents

As the first Australian same-sex couples begin to marry, a new La Trobe University study has highlighted the need for greater “separation equality”.

The research from the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe found same-sex parents faced ongoing challenges finding lawyers, counsellors and other services providers who understood and could meet their specific needs.

The researchers conducted in-depth interviews with separated same-sex parents in metropolitan and regional Australia to gain a better understanding of their experiences of separation.

La Trobe and National Ageing Research Institute researcher Luke Gahan said the study revealed a need for better education and training of service providers.

“The research found separating same-sex parents have difficulty finding people who they can comfortably discuss their issues with and because of these concerns some are missing out on support altogether,” Mr Gahan said.

“Same-sex parents may have won the right to marriage equality, but there is still a need for greater separation equality.”

Mr Gahan said participants reported that they wanted help without the need to explain their sexuality.

“The most widespread issue is heteronormativity. Whether experienced or serviced, the one-size fits all approach can create an added layer of marginalisation for same-sex parents as they navigate the already difficult terrain of separation.”

Published in the Journal of Family Strengths the research was funded by an Australian Research Council grant and was part of the Work, Love Play Project at the Bouverie Centre at La Trobe University.

Media Contact Anastasia Salamastrakis 0428 195 464